Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thaddeus Mosley Photographs.

In preparation for the upcoming THADDEUS MOSLEY: SCULPTURE (STUDIO | HOME) exhibition – opening reception on April 3 – we wanted to give people a behind the scenes view of the complete installation process. For the show, we'll be packing-up and transporting Thad's entire artist studio to the museum's main building. We will also be documenting and reconstructing a portion of Thad's North Side home within the gallery. The big move will be taking place next week and we plan to share the process as much as we can.

To give you an idea of the elegance, beauty, uniqueness and volume of Thad's work, we've created a Flickr set for the exhibition. Some selections from the set are below. You can click on the image to see a larger version. All photos were taken by Tom Little.


Thad Thumbnails

Posted by JEFFREY

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Factory 500 Wrap-Up

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all the Factory 500 members who attended Saturday night's festivities! A great time was had by all. For those of you not in the know, every few months, Factory 500 members are invited to join in on special events focusing on a specific neighborhood in Pittsburgh. This past weekend, the neighborhood of the evening was the East End (or Bloomfield and Shadyside to be more specific).

We started the night off with ice cream headaches and burning mouths (my new favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate habanero! Wow!) at Ethan Clay's Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee Company. Next we headed over to Marshall and Wallis Katz's Alcoa-built home in Shadyside. I'm still trying to absorb their magnificent art collection, including Marshall's seemingly endless collection of Palissy ware. The final stop on the night's tour was Sean Derry's (sculptor instructor at University of Pittsburgh) Bloomfield art studio where he inflated one of his bed-sheet cars just for us (patterned after his old Ford Focus, by the way). Thanks all the hosts for sharing a little part of your world with us!

P.S. Find out more about Factory 500 HERE. If you have any questions, or would like to join, email or give me a call at 412.231.3169!

Posted by LINDSAY

Monday, February 23, 2009

Making It Work - SCREENtxt Part 2

This is the second post in a three-part series dealing with the concept, implementation and outcomes of the Mattress Factory's SCREENtxt project. View the first post HERE.

All apologies this post is late in arriving; I had hoped to get it posted shortly after the project launch, but some technical glitches and other projects got in the way of it's timliness. At any rate, here's a bit of information about how we got the project underway and some modifications we plan to make as soon as possible.


MF SCREENtxt - 1

On Friday, February 6th, we went live with SCREENtxt. A partnership with BrightKite, SCREENtxt makes use of the location-based social network's Display Wall feature, allowing visitors to post text messages and photos to an electronic comment screen hanging in the museum lobby. All SCREENtxt activity is also viewable online HERE.


We originally explored using Twitter for this application, but the SMS registration process was too intricate and entwined for visitors to easily make their way through. BrightKite's SMS registration process is streamlined and intuitive. First, participants send a short check-in text (@MF) to the BrightKite shortcode. They receive a confirmation text a few moments later. The next, and final step, is to select a username. Because BrightKite is a rapidly growing social network, most common usernames are already taken. To alleviate a troublesome username selection, we've recommended participants use their first name with a few random digits tacked onto the end so a name is assigned on the first try. Registration complete. Visitors can now post to the wall.

UPDATE: As of February 23, the BrightKite wall now integrates with Twitter. This makes it very easy for existing Twitter users to post directly to the wall without registering with BrightKite. Now, any Twitter post containing the hashtag #MFtxt will appear in the Mattress Factory placestream. This also makes it very easy for those off-site to communicate with visitors on-site. We are currently revising our collateral material to reflect this new option.

Another nice thing about using the BrightKite display wall is that all the meaty code lives on their end. This eliminates the costly expense of in-house development. You sacrifice a bit of customization, but for organizations operating under limited budgets, it makes a lot of sense. The BrightKite user interface is sleek and self-serve, so any institution can create a display wall in a few minutes. For FREE.


All hardware used for SCREENtxt was equipment we had lying around the museum. Coincidentally, Inner and Outer Space closed in January, so a flat-screen TeeVee that had been showing a David Ellis piece became available.

We connected a Mac Mini to the museum's network directly under the TeeVee in the basement. MF Owen and MF Danny then drilled a hole in the floor through which they ran a DVI to HDMI cable connecting computer to television. Voila. Hardware set-up complete.

Because the Mac Mini was sans monitor and controller, we needed to install remote operating software on a usable workstation. We've used Chicken of the VNC many times before, and it's a perfect fit in this instance. We downloaded the program on my computer and the computer at the admissions desk, so there are two routes into the SCREENtxt mini.

The first time we logged into the SCREENtxt mini, we set automated daily start-up (9AM) & shut-down (10PM) times for the unit. We also set the Safari preferences to open automatically to the SCREENtxt URL upon startup. And that's it. Project implemented.

MF SCREENtxt - 3    MF SCREENtxt - 2


In order to entice maximum participation, we needed to make the collateral material approachable and easy to comprehend at first glance. View a PDF of the first draft of the SCREENtxt handout HERE. This is still something we're experimenting with and refining. We'll be adding the Twitter integration information, and trying multiple self-service distribution locations throughout the museum. Of course, we welcome any ideas about how to convey the necessary info easily and efficiently to visitors. Feel free to hit up the comments below.

And that, in a nutshell, is how we got this project rolling. It continues to be an ongoing experiment, and one we're excited to watch grow. I'll probably be making a few SCREENtxt update posts along the way before a final wrap-up/outcomes post sometime in April. Again, a big THANKS to everyone (especially Brady Becker) at BrightKite for assisting throughout the implementation phase.

As always, if you have questions or thoughts, get in touch via blog comments, email or Twitter.

Posted by JEFFREY

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Family Day at the Mattress Factory - THIS SATURDAY!

Last month, I blogged about two Family Workshops held here at the Mattress Factory. The first, dealing with Mary Temple's diaristic art-making practice, was an engaging session designed to show families easy ways to incorporate art within their daily lives. The second workshop paired an exhibiting Mattress Factory artist (Gretchen Skogerson) with families who were interested in using light-sensitive materials to create one-of-a-kind artworks.

Workshop w/ Gretchen Skogerson - 5

Family Workshop w/ Gretchen Skogerson - 1   Workshop w/ Gretchen Skogerson - 2

Workshop w/ Gretchen Skogerson - 4

Our next family-friendly event takes place this Saturday from 11:00AM to 4:30PM. Family Day at the Mattress Factory will include hands-on activities including Pixel Pages, Flipbooks, and Gretchen Skogerson inspired Glow-in-the-Dark Drawings (images above). A guided tour will take place at 2:00PM. All Family Day activities are FREE with museum admission. I hope to see you and your family on Saturday!

Posted by ANNA

Monday, February 16, 2009

Some MFiConfess Videos from This Weekend




View all visitor-submitted confessions HERE.

Posted by JEFFREY

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Thad Mosley - Home

April 4, 2009 - July 19, 2009

Opening Reception: Friday, April 3, 2009 [ ADD TO FACEBOOK ]

In a city like Pittsburgh that is steeped with tradition, oral histories become a unique view into the past. Stories told over generations are met with curiosity about places and people forever changed by time. One such storyteller is artist Thaddeus Mosley.

Beginning on April 4, 2009, the Mattress Factory will present THADDEUS MOSLEY: SCULPTURE (STUDIO | HOME), a solo exhibition highlighting both the professional and private life of sculptor Thaddeus Mosley. For the exhibition, Mosley’s complete artist studio and portions of his North Side home will be documented, transported and reconstructed within the Mattress Factory’s galleries. The exhibition will be on view through July 19, 2009.

Thad Mosley - Home 1 Thad Mosley - Home 3

Thaddeus Mosley is a native of New Castle, Pennsylvania, and has spent his adult life in Pittsburgh. After an enlistment in the Navy, he attended the University of Pittsburgh where he graduated with majors in English and Journalism. To support his family, he took a job with the postal service, a position he retained until his retirement in 1992. During the 1950s, Thad also worked as a journalist for the Pittsburgh Courier and various national magazines. This is the period during which his interest in carving and sculpture began.
“Thad’s sculpture obviously speaks for itself, but what really interested me during a site visit to his home were his personal collections and the stories he told about his life here in Pittsburgh,” says Michael Olijnyk, Co-Director of the Mattress Factory. “With this exhibition, we’re showcasing his sculpture, of course, but also Pittsburgh’s rich history told through Thad’s incredible voice.”
An opening reception for THADDEUS MOSLEY: SCULPTURE (STUDIO | HOME) will take place on Friday, April 3, 2009, from 6:00PM to 9:00PM. Admission is $10. Mattress Factory members, Pitt & CMU students (w/ I.D.) are always FREE.

Posted by JEFFREY

Monday, February 9, 2009


Antoine Catala, Pumpkins (2008), DVD, 7 minutes, looped

PREDRIVE: After Technology

November 14, 2008 - April 5, 2009
Review by Alexander Keefe

This group exhibition of new-media art covers a wide terrain, ranging from rec-room psychedelia to neo-Op-art electronics. The eye-popping vitality of the former is evident in Jacob and Jessica Ciocci’s mixed-media installation The Dark Side of Light, 2008. Core members of Paper Rad, their approach is visually intense and eclectic, using rough juxtapositions of high and low technology in flashing tie-dye colors, furry stuffed animals, VHS-era video hacks, stoner jokes, and crudely pixelated pattern making.

Compared with this dizzying heterogeneity, Gretchen Skogerson’s Switch, 2008, works with a far simpler set of tools: A gently curved wall is hung with vertical threads and serves as a screen for a shifting set of powerfully physical fluorescent light fields, some of them magma hot, some icy cool.

Antoine Catala’s single-channel video Pumpkins, 2008, takes heavily processed footage of children playing Twenty Questions and echoes the game’s riddling ambiguity with digital visual distortion, their faces breaking and smearing into playfully grotesque abstraction. | CONTINUE READING |

Posted by JEFFREY

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sarah Oppenheimer to Speak at Carnegie Mellon University

THIS JUST IN: Sarah Oppenheimer, whose 610-3356 has been extended and is currently on display here at the Mattress Factory, will be giving a FREE and open-to-the-public lecture at Carnegie Mellon University on Tuesday, February 10th at 5.00PM. All the pertinent details can be found over on the CMU School of Art Website.

610-3356 (2008)
aircraft grade plywood, framing structure, view into neighboring yard across street

From the CMU School of Art's Website:
The focus of Sarah’s work is the feedback loop between constructed spaces and pedestrian motion. She studies how the built environment and human behavior reciprocally impact each other; most recently, the way that the visual progression of the human gaze is mapped by the contours of a given space. Sarah opens apertures in existing architectures, modifying the modular units that make up our standardized urban world. These apertures create new lines of sight within the space of display, and can function as both "holes" and "screens."
610-3356 continues to surprise museum visitors and was recently included in critic and blogger Tyler Green's 2008 Top Ten List. Life Without Buildings also posted an insightful review of the piece shortly after it opened here at the MF. I hope to see you at the talk!

Posted by JEFFREY

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

An Update on the MF iConfess Project

I thought I'd post an update about the MF iConfess project. The most natural way to do this isn't by writing a long blog post, so here it is...straight outta the MF safari. Pardon my giggling half-way through. Barbara Luderowski was peering into the confessional and making faces in an attempt to fluster me. It worked.

Posted by JEFFREY

Monday, February 2, 2009

We Put the M and the F in Super Bowl

Below are some photos sent to us from MF members who made the trip to Tampa to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers become 6-time Super Bowl champions. Did you sport the MF logo during the Super Bowl weekend? Send photos our way and we'll post them here.

On the plane from PIT to Tampa

Saturday night before the big game

Saturday night before the big game



Posted by LINDSAY